What is the book, why did we publish it, and where can it be ordered?
Published in August 2022, Forging Secrets: Faces and Facts Inside the Nazi Operation Bernhard Scheme is a unique book published by the Spungen Family Foundation, in association with Coin and Currency Institute, that features never-before-seen accounts from historians, descendants of Holocaust survivors, and the granddaughter of the Nazi who ran “Operation Bernhard.”
“We wanted to put a face on money - to show the humanity behind this incredible story for students and future generations who take an interest in the Holocaust and World War II,” said Danny Spungen, trustee of the Spungen Family Foundation. “This is more than a book. This is an interactive experience in a book where students and collectors can search for and acquire an artifact, witnesses of the Holocaust.”
Operation Bernhard was a secret Nazi project during WWII that forced Jewish concentration camp prisoners to forge Bank of England money. Initially intended to destroy the British economy, the forged notes ended up financing the German side of the war. With their lives hanging by a thread, 140-plus prisoners produced enough fake currency to equal the face value of all reserves in the vaults of the Bank of England—an astounding 6 or 7 billion dollars in today’s money. This sensational true story has been treated by historians, survivors, Hollywood, and mainstream media, but never have all of these elements been combined into one volume.
The story was popularized by The Counterfeiters, which won the Academy Award in 2007 for best foreign film, but it contained many inaccuracies. In an age of increasing Holocaust distortion and denial, Forging Secrets takes on the mission of correcting the historical record. Compelling eyewitness accounts of the forgery workshop’s survivors are combined with historical analysis and new information on the counterfeit notes, which have become a popular collector’s item.
In addition to the written content, the 252-page book features over 500 images, including never-before-published sketches of Bernhard prisoners by the artists Peter Edel and Leo Haas, who were also prisoners in the forgery operation. Perhaps the most unique feature of the hardcover, linen-wrapped book is a die-cut window in the cover. The window opens up to a museum-quality transparent polyester sleeve stitched into the book and sized precisely to hold a counterfeit “Operation Bernhard” banknote. Retail copies of the book come with a replica Bernhard note, with guidance on how to conserve an authentic Bernhard note printed on the backside of the replica.
Contributors to the book include Auschwitz historian and museum curator Robert Jan van Pelt; Astrid Ley and Agnes Ohm, expert historians from the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum near Berlin; Debbie Walter, daughter of Operation Bernhard survivor Hans Walter; Charlotte Krüger, granddaughter of Bernhard Krüger, the Nazi who ran the operation; and American Numismatic Association Medal of Merit recipients Joseph Boling and C. Frederick Schwan. The book was edited by Joseph Boling, Spungen Foundation advisory board member Kiel Majewski, and foundation trustee Danny Spungen. Several other renowned researchers and historians also contributed original content.
Each copy of the 1,100 short-run collectible book is individually numbered and retails for $199. Thanks to the generous contributions of donors and sponsors, 250+ copies will be made available to students at a significant discount when experiencing Spungen Foundation exhibitions in person. Available online at Coin & Currency Institute (www.coin-currency.com / +1 800 421 1866), Amazon, and through select collector currency dealers.
For more information on how to order a book and on shipping costs, contact Mikayla Hoppe at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about upcoming book events, contact Danny Spungen email@example.com / +1 847 775 4675.
New information about the book will continuously be added to this website.